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Change Management in SMEs & the Impact of Automation

Automation is reshaping workplaces worldwide, creating challenges for many, especially small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). It's far from being just a buzzword; automation's impact is reaching across all organizational layers. While humans remain an organization's most valuable resource, how leaders navigate automation-induced changes will determine their path.

management meeting

This article explores the concept of change management in the context of automation, particularly with technologies like Atomatik and AI, emphasizing its organizational impact on SMEs.

The Constant Pressure of Change

In the business world, things don't stay the same for very long. Over the past decade, there has been a relentless drive for change, with automation and artificial intelligence leading the way. Considerable resources have been invested in developing these tools, making them impossible to ignore for companies striving for growth and long-term prosperity.

According to the World Economic Forum, 90% of all global companies are SMEs, employing 70% of the workforce. Labeling SMEs as early or late technology adopters is overly simplistic; various factors, including financial resources, geography, industry, and mindset, influence how organizations embrace disruptive technologies.

However, SMEs are often more vulnerable to the rapid pace of change. Their dynamic operating environments demand timely adaptation. There are several predictors of how successful the implementation of a new technology will be.

Geography Matters

Company location holds significance for several reasons, particularly in change management. Cultural nuances cannot be overlooked. For instance, U.S. companies tend to be more aggressive in rewarding high-performing employees and quicker to address underperformance, while European companies often adopt a more measured approach.

People Remain the Most Valuable Asset

The ongoing technological revolution is founded on the principle that technology should enhance human well-being and benefit society. Despite fears about automation, excessive connectivity can create new power dynamics, both socially and politically. Leaders of all sizes must anticipate these challenges, regardless of their team's size. Moreover, with Gen Z becoming the dominant workforce, the imminent shift in demographics requires careful alignment of employees and technology through proactive measures.

woman working at computer on industrial site

Prioritizing Training

Training is of paramount importance, even for user-friendly solutions like Atomatik. Tailoring training to create workflows and automate processes depends on an organization's unique needs. While large-scale training programs may not be feasible for SMEs, prioritizing the use of available learning resources and vendor training programs is crucial.

Bottom-Up Technological Innovation

In the automation market, a recurring scenario involves technology-driven change initiated by employees in different roles than those with budgetary control and decision-making authority. These champions of new technologies, often regular business users, need encouragement to propose alternative solutions and should be met with full support.

Education as a Foundation

Beyond accommodating employees with new solutions, establishing an educational foundation for technology adoption is vital. Factors such as urbanization, community wealth, and population growth promote innovation, while unemployment can hinder it.

The Role of Management Philosophy

Leadership's perspective on innovation and technology adoption significantly shapes outcomes. Rather than viewing technology decisions as a linear process from the C-suite to employees, it's more accurate to consider them as a complex interplay of multiple factors.

Leadership preferences are influenced by market competition, customer demands, labor markets, and institutional support.

In Conclusion

Change management in SMEs in the age of automation is multi-faceted. Not only is an appetite for innovation important but how a new technology is received will determine its success. Regardless of the case, the same technology that can very well lead to prosperity, empowerment, and decentralization can backfire if improperly implemented or met.

Atomatik was developed to be seamless in installation and use, making it an ideal automation platform for the agile and dynamic environment in which many small and medium businesses operate.

It’s always challenging to adopt a new technology and that’s why we fully support all our customers during and after implementation, to help them maximize the potential of automation and achieve their goals.

If you have thoughts and questions about this article or want to learn more about the benefits of Atomatik for your company, book a call with our sales team.


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